In search of a better life, the Anderson family left their native Finland and settled in South Thomaston in the early 1800s. Generations of the family farmed the fertile soils along the St. George River for more than 200 years. Many locals remember dairy cattle grazing the hills and lowlands of the Anderson Farm, but with family members now scattered across the country, the family chose to transfer this heritage to the Georges River Land Trust through a series of transactions beginning in 2013. Most recently, the conservation organization purchased the 38-acre “Anderson West” parcel in October.

Jean Mullen Carmean, granddaughter of John Anderson, spoke with Land Trust representatives last week, “I am pleased that our family's property and Finnish heritage is being preserved for the local community and future generations.”

With local support from nearly 100 community members matching contributions from foundations including Bafflin Foundation, Davis Conservation Foundation, Fields Pond Foundation, John Sage Foundation, Maine Community Foundation and Maine Coast Heritage Trust, as well as the state-funded Maine Outdoor Heritage Fund, the land trust was able to secure this property at the gateway to the St. George peninsula for generations to come. The Andersons also contributed to ensure the Anderson West parcel’s conservation – the family made the first gift to the project by accepting less than fair market value for the purchase.

With this property now conserved, there is a land bridge between the St. George and Weskeag rivers. In addition to the 500 acres conserved by Georges River Land Trust, the “Bridging Two Rivers” initiative includes the adjacent Waldo Tyler Wildlife Preserve and lands protected by Maine Coast Heritage Trust — combining more than 1,300 acres of field, marsh and woodlands in this biologically significant riparian corridor that will remain intact and available for wildlife. Georges River Land Trust offers public access through its Riverview Hayfields Preserve, which is adjacent to private farmland conserved through permanent conservation easements.

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